Vladimir Nabokov

Assa, Frances Peltz. Nabokov the Psychologist. 2017

Bibliographic title
Nabokov the Psychologist
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Studies
Periodical issue
v. 15
Publication year
Frances Peltz Assa argues that Nabokov's characterization of Humbert Humbert's treatment of Lolita and his attempt in Bend Sinister to elicit compassion from his readers both make use of insights that are completely consistent with recent studies on empathy and its lack. She argues that Vadim's concerns about his memory in Look at the Harlequins! pose problems that have been studied in new research on Memory. She contends that Nabokov's insights into creativity and imagination, as presented in his lecture "The Art of Literature and Common Sense," are supported by psychological research on mind and creativity. She also argues that Nabokov's short story, "Cloud Castle Lake," is consistent with findings from group psychology. Finally, she argues that Nabokov's own psychological well-being in the face of exile and tragedy is consistent with recent findings on trauma, which punctures Edmund Wilson's theory that Nabokov harbored much resentment due to his suffering after the revolution.